I don’t run. I jog. Barely. I likely still jog the same speed at which I completed the mile run in fourth grade. This is hard for me—I come from a family of marathon runners and live in Boulder.
I don’t really like running. I resent how perfect it is. But I’m getting over it for Namibia. I need to get fit, I need something that was fast to do, and the poodle seems keen.
“What do you do to train to climb?” people ask me.
“Climb,” I say. Eat butter, I think.
That’s my usual answer. It’s largely been true, though lately I’ve recognized I might need to expand my vision. Cross fit, Mountain Athlete, the Chris Wall Torture Chamber—there are endless opportunities out there for self-inflicted hells designed to make you tougher. The concept is all the same: push yourself to the breaking point now so that you can go past it later. I’m not opposed to this vision—in college, to many people, I was known as the weight room girl. I used to be a vegan. I used to not eat nuts. I used to do “eight minutes of abs” every day.
Now, I eat butter. Lots of it. Peter bakes fresh bread. There have been days when I can go through a half stick, easy. The poodle likes his butter, too. He stole at least 1.5 lbs (six different incidents, one stick each) this winter. I can’t get mad at him—it’s my reward, too.
How do you train for fending off lions and finding the boar watering hole? Can you do it with a kettle bell? Maybe I am running again to be able to run away from the Namibian critters. Maybe this is where the mental element of the torture comes in, because it never seems to be the climbing that is the biggest deal when you go on these adventures—once you are climbing, the world becomes more familiar. It is the getting to, around, down, and through the climbing that is new experience. I pick objectives and ideas that have equal, if not more, components of the second category. It’s my own version of the clean and jerk.
Preparation happens in multiple forms—we use what is familiar and what is foreign to prepare our selves for what is unknown. I’m running—jogging—to get ready for 47-hours of travel. I’m climbing Eldorado Canyon sandstone for Namibian granite. I’m sweating in the Colorado morning sun to come home to a breakfast sausage cooked in butter.
Read More About Namibia Here